Thursday, October 25, 2012

EarVu, a Sci Fi Horror story - Part 8

Continuing with Part 8 of Ear Vu....
Image by Marvin Hayes

The next day came too early. After a grueling four hours of questions the night before, I figured I had already lost enough time on the project as it was. And coworkers. And it would seem that for now I would be working alone as my fellow scientists had all--disappeared. Or, died? Nothing seemed to be missing from the lab, though. There appeared to be no other evidence of a kidnapping, or a robbery; well, maybe. And considering there was no indication that Garrison had ever left the building, or Johnson--

I was just finishing my coffee when the phone rang.

“Yes. Dr. Michaelson," I said.

"Dr. Michaelson? This is Thomas, head of security? We spoke yesterday? The Director wanted me to tell you that we have found nothing else. He wanted to know if you knew of any important papers or equipment at Dr. Johnson's house that should be brought back to the lab--before we do anything else.

Also, you will be given armed protection to your home and back and more, if you so desire."

"Thank you, and no,” I thought about it, “we didn’t usually take things home, not that I know of. I assume the police will give us what is ours if there is anything lying about? Is there anything else, Mr. Thomas?" Due to various proprietary applications being worked on elsewhere in the facility, security was always tight around here. None of us would have taken secret anything home.

"No, Sir. Thank you. I truly am sorry Dr. Michaelson, about the, situation. Sir?"

"Thanks? Oh, yes?"

"Sir, do you have any idea what--"

"No, sorry. But I am sure you will be talking with me again soon, correct?"

"No, Sir. `SMIC’, Sonni Military Intelligence Contracting, will take over. I have to go now, sir. Please feel free to call me if you have any questions or think of anything you believe that we should know. Thank you very much, sir. Have a good night."

I hung up the phone. Military Intelligence. I had to laugh at that well-worn, clich├ęd contradiction in terms. When will they learn? I turned my attention back to the problem at hand. Today I was scheduled to check resonant duplication from the sine wave functions generated by using multiple microphones as it related to EarVu.

I grabbed a random tape almost angrily from the tape storage shelf and went to the “wall”. Popping out the cassette in the deck I inserted a new one. I logged onto the network, called up EarVu and watched as the tape fed it’s audio to be translated into the hologram which displayed an entire colony of black army ants in and around an ant hill. I adjusted to “pan” down through semi-solid matter deep into the nest. Needing both hands for adjustments, I put the tape I had in my hand into my pocket and lifted out the other tape, suddenly realizing what it was!

"Oh, Hell. Test 2 tape?" My hands began to tremble with the realization of what the tape could be. I calmed down as I realized that chances were that it was really nothing. I tapped it on my cheek, considering what happened to Garrison and Johnson, and whether it might yet happen to me. That thought struck home for the first time. I was sure that the security people had thought of it long ago; still—I swapped the tapes out, threw the ant tape on the counter and went to the front door of the lab. I opened the door and, good--no one was there.

I had thought that there might be a Guard nearby for my protection, but apparently not. But as I closed the door I noticed the camera in the hall turn to look toward me. I watched as it zoomed in. Slowly, nonchalantly, I closed the door and hesitantly considered the possibilities. Was there some kind of military project related to what we had been working on? Easily, I supposed. I ignored the implications--for the time being and headed back to the wall. There were cameras in the lab, but not connected externally for purposes of security containment. No camera moved. Good.

I grabbed the remote control. My finger went for the button to initiate the tape but, I found I couldn't press it. I tried again. It was as if something were keeping me from activating the system. But what? Fear?

‘Come on,’ I screamed at myself deep within my mind. And that seemed to break the spell. Both of my colleagues may have been killed and I needed to know. I needed to know for my own safety, what the hell had happened. Finally, I hit the button and the tape initiated.

A few moments later the hologram lit up and I found I was looking at a mini version of the lab reproduced there on the low hologram table. The LASER idea had worked well. Images came out crisp and clear. A phrase Garrison had used to describe the playback popped into my mind.

"A visual so sharp it will make your eyes bleed." And Garrison had been right. The images were hard to look at, they were so sharp. After all, LASER light can be dangerous if you’re not careful. Some glasses hung on a hook by the tape deck, so I put them on. The side of them said they were from the same manufacturer as the LASER deck and tapes: Sonni. With the glasses, the image became even more defined and not so affecting; or dangerous.

Multiple microphones had been set up in the lab so I could clearly see Garrison's face in the recording made in this lab, night before last. He was drawn and pale as he watched himself in "real time" within the hologram from a tape he’d made of himself in the lab. It was a surreal illusion. I thought of the artist, Escher. I realized that just watching Garrison would get me nowhere, so I adjusted the controls to show only what the hologram within the hologram showed.

That was when things changed, rapidly.

Tomorrow, Part 9

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